Interferon alpha regulates MAPK and STAT1 pathways in human hepatoma cells

Virol J. 2011 Apr 6;8:157. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-8-157.


Background: Signaling events triggered by interferon (IFN) account for the molecular mechanisms of antiviral effect. JAK-STAT pathway plays a critical role in IFN signaling, and other pathways are also implicated in IFN-mediated antiviral effect. Changes in mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and STAT1 pathways were evaluated in human hepatoma cells Huh7 and HepG2 upon IFN alpha treatment.

Results: Phosphorylation of ERK was significantly and specifically up-regulated, whereas enhanced phosphorylation of upstream kinase MEK was unobservable upon IFN alpha treatment. A mild increase in p38 MAPK, SAPK/JNK and downstream target ATF-2 phosphorylation was detectable after exposure to IFN alpha, indicating differential up-regulation of the MAPK signaling cascades. Moreover, STAT1 phosphorylation was strongly enhanced by IFN alpha.

Conclusion: IFN alpha up-regulates MAPK and STAT1 pathways in human hepatoma cells, and may provide useful information for understanding the IFN signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Interferon-alpha
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • STAT1 protein, human
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases